What we believe
History of MCC
Tokyo Musashino Evangelical Free Church was launched in October 1981 as a joint church plant of the Evangelical Free Church of Japan and Evangelical Free Church of America Mission, through founding pastor Yosuke Furuyama and veteran missionary Stan Conrad.
From the outset, Pastor Furuyama, a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois, USA, envisioned English being an integral part of the church ministry—not simply as an “English class outreach” but having a broader ministry base to reach Japanese returnees as well as English-speaking foreigners. Thus the "English Service" or "英語礼拝" was established.
The English service soon took on a congregational life of its own. When the Conrad’s four-year term was completed, the church felt it necessary to maintain a pastor specific to the English congregation. In January 1985 Howard and Marilynn Plucar, after pastoring for many years, came to MCC with the Evangelical Free Church of America Mission’s short-term missions program.
When the Plucar’s term concluded in the summer of 1987, the church called Don and Vivian Bruck out of mission retirement to what became six years of fruitful pastoral ministry.
When the Brucks re-retired toward the fall of 1993, Paul and Moreen Sharp, career missionaries with the EFCA, took over pastoral duties at MCC. However, after only nine months of effective ministry, Paul and Moreen felt it necessary to return to Canada where they resumed pastoral ministry.
June 1994 to June 1995 brought a period of unprecedented trial: while the English Department found itself for the first time without a pastor, the church's senior pastor Furuyama, mere months following the 1994 Billy Graham Crusade in Tokyo, of which he was Dr. Graham's interpreter, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. After continuing to preach and minister as long as he had the strength, he passed away in February 1995, leaving a huge hole, but also a wonderful legacy.
Three months later, in June of 1995, Jerry and Karlyn Ehrhardt accepted the call to pastor the English Department and three months following that, Dr. Kunimitsu Ogawa filled Pastor Furuyama's role as senior pastor. Jerry and Karlyn, who had ministered many years both in Korea and Okinawa, pastored faithfully for twelve years—guiding the English Department through some critical transitions—until in fall of 2007 when family needs called them back to the US.
At that very juncture, Dale and Ann Little, veteran missionaries in Japan serendipitously at a ministry transition point, accepted the call to be the English Department interim pastoral couple. Over the next two-and-a-half years they not only provided pastoral continuity for the English Department, but gave MCC the opportunity to actively participate in laying the groundwork for the Little's future ministry project: the launch of Tokyo Multicultural Church (TMC), an international church on the east side of the city.
During this period, Pastor Ogawa's tenure concluded and Pastor Hirotaka Hayashi was called as pastor of the Japanese Department, where he served until May of 2017.
In February of 2010, 23 years after their first stint at MCC, Howard and Marilynn Plucar accepted the call to return as our pastoral couple. They remained three and one-half years before returning to the US to serve full-time with ReachGlobal, the mission arm of the Evangelical Free Church of America. During their tenure, TMC was launched in April of 2013, with the Littles being commissioned along with a small group of intrepid MCC members to plant what has taken root as a thriving community of international believers in Sumida-ku—right in the shadow of the iconic Tokyo SkyTree.
From October 2013 to March 2015, the English Department, for the second time in our history, found ourselves without a pastor. With no interim in the offing, we were out of necessity impelled to pull together as a church body, and along with a roster of guest speakers, put our God-given gifts into practice and step up to fill the gap. Through this experience, we not only have been able to carry the testimony of God supplying all our needs, but can attest that in affirming Jesus Christ as Head of His church, adhering to His Word, and depending on Him in prayer, He proved Himself faithful, working in hearts through His Spirit, and building His church as He promised He would. Against the odds, the church body not only strengthened, but actually grew during this period—in attendance, membership, and ministries.
And in God's always perfect plan and timing, He brought Ron and Katie Sisco to us in March of 2015. Having served as missionaries in Japan for 25 years, like the Brucks nearly 30 years earlier, they surrendered up retirement and family and returned to ministry. (Incidentally, it was the Brucks who had been instrumental in bringing the Siscos to Japan in the 1970s.) In addition, during our time without a pastor in 1994-95, Ron had been a regular on our rotation of guest speakers, making their arrival feel more like a return. Though they had originally committed to two years with us, Ron and Katie "re-retired" from full-time service in Japan in October 2020—faithfully ministering to us for five and a half years.
The ministry continues. Our road, while not always smooth, testifies to God's faithfulness and sustaining grace. He has never failed us, and He never will fail us—as we walk in His Truth, according to His Word, and by His Spirit. Our continual prayer is that we as His local body will remain ever faithful to Him as our Head.